Your unemployment will make people you meet wiser than you.
You have found or will find that when you interact with people you will occasionally hear The Lecture. That laser-focus, one-sided discussion in which you are told in no uncertain terms what you should do about employment. It’s the same capsulized lecture that teenagers hear when they take a job training course. The galling thing for me is that I’m in my 50’s and have successfully worked my entire life until recently. Ouch.
For me The Lecture has two variables. Lecture A consists of telling me that I should put resumes into many companies, and here’s a quick rundown of the biggest employers in our region. Lecture A variables include things like reworking my resume to fit the job description and different places to look for jobs such as the newspaper or, with an airy wave of the hand, online. The exact advice and with the same tone you’d give to a recent high school dropout who wants to play video games all day. Lecture B is shorter but more painful. You should just get a job at McDonald’s. This is said with irritation and finality.
In both lecture variables the style is the same. It is strident, sharp, loud, embarrassing, and never takes into account anything about me. In other words, “I just met you therefore …” The Lecture is usually given while I’m with family, friends, or others I’m just getting to know.
This refers more to new people you interact with than to those who know and care about you. They tend to be especially outspoken types who are fully employed, are retired, or worse yet have never needed to be employed. People who don’t know you well or at all and have no vested or personal interest in you. You’ll meet them at parties, your kid’s baseball practice, at church, getting your taxes done, and anywhere someone stops long enough to ask you what you do.
But please keep in mind that they are not trying to be mean. Their place in the world is fixed and they can’t understand you. Do yourself a favor and swallow your indignation, hurt, and irritation. Don’t burn your bridges. Remember that anyone you meet could lead to an opportunity. Just look at them with compassionate, knowing eyes and think to yourself, “Each of us is sure that we’re wiser than the other one but I’ll prove it by keeping my yapper shut.”
This is one of my fundamentals of unemployment.
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